January 2015

Teens gave 13-year-old schoolgirl alcohol and drugs before having sex with her

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TWO friends who had sex with a 13-year-old girl after giving her cannabis and vodka have been spared jail. Billy Drage and Reece Smith were both 19 when they committed offences against the girl.

The pair sheltered the girl after she went missing from home in November 2013, providing her with alcohol and drugs before having sex with her.

Both have been given suspended prison sentences, despite knowing that she was just 13 years old.

Mark McKone, prosecuting at Hull Crown Court, said: “The defendants are close friends. They separately had sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Mr McKone said social workers had indicated to the police that the victim was “streetwise” and “looked older than 13”.

However, Mr McKone said both Drage and Smith were aware the girl was under 16, the legal age of consent.

In respect of Drage, the prosecutor said: “She told him she was 13. He believed she acted older than 13. He admitted that he found out she was 13 and had sex with her after.”

Drage had sex with the girl at the home he shares with his mother in north Hull.

“She [the victim] told her mother she was staying with a girlfriend,” said Mr McKone.

“She had vodka and cannabis. He did not provide those to facilitate the offence.

“The defendant was flirty and tried to kiss her. She told him to get off.”

Drage and the girl then had sex before they were interrupted by his mother returning home, said Mr McKone.

The victim had initially accused Drage of rape.

“The prosecution did not prosecute him for rape,” said Mr McKone. “Sex was consensual. She actively encouraged him.”

In early November, a social worker, who was trying to find the girl after she went missing, spoke to Drage.

“Both Drage and Smith were warned off her by the social worker,” said Mr McKone.

Drage, of 32nd Avenue, north Hull, later told police he had sex with the girl on two occasions, but insisted it had been consensual.

One of the counts against Drage was ordered to lie on file.

Smith, of Marton Grove, east Hull, told police he had sex with the girl on six occasions. He told his mother she was 16 years old.

Mr McKone said: “On one occasion Smith gave her [the victim] weed and she was stoned.

“Social workers had told him she was 13. He said that she [the victim] had told him that she was 16. He went on to have sex with her.

“Smith said that he felt sorry for her and had taken her under his wing.”

On November 21 last year, tests showed DNA taken from the girl matched that of Smith.

Mr McKone said: “He admitted having sex with her and called her a s*** in interview and said he was the vulnerable one.”

Drage pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual activity with a child on November 16 and 17 2013.

Smith also pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual activity with a child in November 2013.

John Thackray, representing Drage, said: “He is not a mature man by any means. He has made a very serious mistake.”

Stephen Robinson, for Smith, said: “He is, on balance, ashamed of his actions. He says he is ashamed and disgusted by his behaviour.

“He was more comfortable with younger people, given his immaturity.”

Judge Graham Robinson ruled it was not in the public interest to send either of the men to prison.

He said: “The public interest is best served by ensuring you remain under supervision for three years rather than depriving you of your liberty for weeks or months.”

Both men were given a three-year supervision order, with a requirement to attend a sexual offences rehabilitation programme.

They were also both given sexual offences prevention orders and must sign the sex offenders’ register for five years.

Detective Constable Mike Smith, of Humberside Police’s protecting vulnerable people team, said: “Smith and Drage befriended their victim, a vulnerable 13-year-old girl. She then went missing from home and they sheltered her, providing her with alcohol and access to drugs, before sexually exploiting her on separate occasions, knowing that she was underage.

“I would like to commend the courage and determination of the victim in coming forward and reporting her abuse to the police and then subsequently supporting this investigation.

“Humberside Police is committed to investigating offences of this nature and, with a dedicated team and the adoption of a multi-agency approach, to identifying and safeguarding those at risk, while also disrupting and prosecuting perpetrators of child sexual exploitation.

“The work of the local authority and charitable agencies such as Corner House has been key in supporting and safeguarding the victim in this case and other children. This work is also preventing those children from becoming abusers or facilitators themselves.”

Anyone with information about child sexual exploitation should call Humberside Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.